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The Pickwick Papers 174

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

to execute his commission. It was nearly nine oclock when he reached Goswell Street. A couple of candles were burning in the little front parlour, and a couple of caps were reflected on the window-blind. Mrs. Bardell had got company. Mr. Weller knocked at the door, and after a pretty long interval--occupied by the party without, in whistling a tune, and by the party within, in persuading a refractory flat candle to allow itself to be lighted--a pair of small boots pattered over the floor-cloth, and Master Bardell presented himself. Well, young townskip, said Sam, hows mother? Shes pretty well, replied Master Bardell, so am I. Well, thats a mercy, said Sam; tell her I want to speak to her, will you, my hinfant fernomenon? Master Bardell, thus adjured, placed the refractory flat candle on the bottom stair, and vanished into the front parlour with his message. The two caps, reflected on the window-blind, were the respective head-dresses of a couple of Mrs. Bardells most particular acquaintance, who had just stepped in, to have a quiet cup of tea, and a little warm supper of a couple of sets of pettitoes and some toasted cheese. The cheese was simmering and browning away, most delightfully, in a little Dutch oven before the fire; the pettitoes were getting on deliciously in a little tin saucepan on the hob; and Mrs. Bardell and her two friends were getting on very well, also, in a little quiet conversation about and concerning all their particular friends and acquaintance; when Master Bardell came back from answering the door, and delivered the message intrusted to him by Mr. Samuel Weller. Mr. Pickwicks servant! said Mrs. Bardell, turning pale. Bless my soul! said Mrs. Cluppins. Well, I raly would not ha believed it, unless I had ha happened to ha been here! said Mrs. Sanders. Mrs. Cluppins was a little, brisk, busy-looking woman; Mrs. Sanders was a big, fat, heavy-faced personage; and the two were the company. Mrs. Bardell felt it proper to be agitated; and as none of the three exactly knew whether under existing circumstances, any communication, otherwise than through Dodson & Fogg, ought to be held with Mr. Pickwicks servant, they were all rather taken by surprise. In this state of indecision, obviously the first thing to be done, was to thump the boy for finding Mr. Weller at the door. So his mother thumped him, and he cried melodiously. Hold your noise--do--you naughty creetur! said Mrs. Bardell. Yes; dont worrit your poor mother, said Mrs. Sanders. Shes quite enough to worrit her, as it is, without you, Tommy, said Mrs. Cluppins, with sympathising resignation. Ah! worse luck, poor lamb! said Mrs. Sanders. At all which moral reflections, Master Bardell howled the louder. Now, what shall I do? said Mrs. Bardell to Mrs. Cluppins. I think you ought to see him, replied Mrs. Cluppins. But on no account without a witness. I think two witnesses would be more lawful, said Mrs. Sanders, who, like the other friend, was bursting with curiosity. Perhaps hed better come in here, said Mrs. Bardell. To be sure, replied Mrs. Cluppins, eagerly catching at the idea; walk in, young man; and shut the street door first, please. Mr. Weller immediately took the hint; and presenting himself in the parlour, explained his business to Mrs. Bardell thus-- Wery sorry to casion any personal inconwenience, maam, as the housebreaker said to the old lady when he put her on the fire; but as me and my governor s only jest come to town, and is jest going away agin, it cant be helped, you see. Of course, the young man cant help the faults of his master, said Mrs. Cluppins, much struck by Mr. Wellers appearance and conversation. Certainly not, chimed in Mrs. Sanders, who, from certain wistful glances at the little tin saucepan, seemed to be engaged in a mental calculation of the probable extent of the pettitoes, in the event of Sams being asked to stop to supper. So all Ive come about, is jest this here, said Sam, disregarding the interruption; first, to give my governors notice--there it is. Secondly, to pay the rent--here it is. Thirdly, to say as all his things is to be put together, and give to anybody as we sends for em. Fourthly, that you may let the place as soon as you like-- and thats all. Whatever has happened, said Mrs. Bardell, I always have said, and always will say, that in every respect but one, Mr. Pickwick has always behaved himself like a perfect gentleman. His money always as good as

The Pickwick Papers page 173        The Pickwick Papers page 175